What are pelvic fractures?
A pelvic fracture is the name given to any fractures or breaks to the bones of the pelvis. They most commonly occur to dogs or cats after they are hit by a vehicle. They can appear as tearing of the Sacroiliac joint, where the wing of the ilium is torn from the sacrum (a Sacroiliac dislocation), or they may present as a fracture to the ilium or ischium (the wings of the pelvis). This may or may not also involve the acetabulum (which is the socket the femur sits within).
Following a car accident, lameness is the most common sign of a pelvic fracture. As we examine your pet, palpation can lead us to the conclusion that a pelvic fracture has occurred, as crunching may be felt upon gentle manipulation of the legs. An x-ray will confirm if a fracture is present, and if it needs to be treated – as well as checking for damage to other abdominal organs such as the bladder.
Treatment can vary markedly from case to case. In some pets, they will simply require cage rest or limited activity. Where dislocation of the Sacroiliac joint has occurred, the placement of a screw (or screws) through the ilium sacrum can be used to secure the bones. These aren’t generally long procedures – though occasionally a combination of bone plates and screws will be required as multiple fractures may need to be treated. In these instances, the procedure will take considerably longer.
Cost of treatment
We treat Sacroiliac dislocations, including x-rays, diagnosis and treatment, for between $1,000 - $1,300; whilst complex pelvic fractures can cost between $1,500 - $2,000. At a referral centre, treatment can cost anywhere from $4,000 - $10,000 and greater, depending on the complexity of the fracture and the length of stay at the hospital.
Recovery and aftercare
Like most fractures, pelvic fractures are painful, so we send your pet home with multiple forms of pain relief and antibiotics. Your patience will be required, as it can take a week or longer for your pet to begin moving more comfortably and you will be needed to nurse and care for them initially. At referral centres, your pet will remain at the hospital during the initial recovery period – and you may be faced with costs of $1,000-$2,000 per day just for the hospitalisation alone. We have found the majority of pet owners would prefer to have their pet at home with them, and we are happy to facilitate this! We provide extensive care advice and are always available for email or phone support.